Thursday, August 26, 2010

What the wanderer does not know

The wanderer knows not, that the striking down of wispy reluctant roots in strange soils is as purifying as a quest.

If he stays long enough to speak of its plagues-to-come and time its monsoons in the native tongues.

Long enough for streets to let off steam in dinner smells that sharpen his Spartan hunger and hasten his homeward way.

Long enough for him to leave behind a dress size at a shop counter, an entry in its credit register, to own a complimentary calendar bearing a corner shop’s names on leaves that to keep beat with time that slowly pulls.

Long enough to believe that the city, like its semi-circular shorelines and mountains that slink behind each other’s shoulders, each a ghostly replica of the other, paler with mist and more distant with thickening cloud, have never changed. And never will.

Long enough to wend a streetlit way in darkening alleys by trusting to a strange pair of feet that march on towards the light unheeding of his own lost ones.

Long enough for its silent siesta afternoons to sweeten childhood songs and its cool to soothe blistered road-weary feet.

The wanderer knows not that if he stays long enough to learn the legends that the name of the city hides, a many-headed serpent with stories in the roofs of its mouths, to sing along when the city goes up in song during , ships’ departing sirens and the night time breeze from the sea will not haunt his repose any longer.

Every seat is taken

Every seat is taken. Lights lean unfairly towards fairer face and pretty trees are lost to painted corners.

Every seat is taken. Your voice, a gravelly voice of many coloured stones, a voice that has always resisted definition staggers, swoops falls out of step with a crowd-kindled chorus.

Every seat is taken. They know not that your speech runs amok with guessed at meanings where it once ambled, not a word out of place along .

Every seat is taken. Your grief refuses beige letter paper and origami shapes but butts into bland shoeboxes that are never thrown away even after the shoebites heal.